Hundreds of UC Davis students protest pepper-spraying by police

Posted Nov. 21, 2011, at 8:12 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 22, 2011, at 1:47 p.m.

DAVIS, Calif. — Hundreds of students and faculty members at the University of California, Davis gathered Monday in the campus quad to protest the use of pepper spray on students by university police last week.

The police on Friday sprayed a group of students who were sitting down in a peaceful protest as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Eleven students were treated for the effects of pepper spray, including two who were treated at a hospital.

Since then, two campus police officers and UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza have been placed on leave. UC officials are investigating the incident.

U.S. uses health-care law to challenge insurer’s rate increase in Pennsylvania

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration Monday called on a health insurance company in Pennsylvania to reduce what it is charging small businesses, using a tool in the new health-care law for the first time to pressure insurers to restrain rising premiums.

Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services determined that Everence Insurance Co.’s plan to raise rates on about 5,000 people in Pennsylvania by nearly 12 percent next year is unreasonable.

That rate is not justified by what the insurer was expected to pay out in medical claims in the state, said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

“We’re calling on the insurance company to immediately withdraw this rate and provide refunds or credits to any beneficiaries who have already paid the unreasonable amount,” Sebelius said, promising that the Everence review would be “the first of many” to come.

Indiana-based Everence stood by the rate increase and disputed the federal government’s analysis, asserting that its review of claims data justifies the premium hike.

Poll: Glimmer of hope on economy, Obama’s handling of it

WASHINGTON — A nearly 2-1 majority of voters think that President Barack Obama inherited, rather than caused, today’s slumping economy, and more Americans trust him to create jobs than they do the Republicans in Congress, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

Half of U.S. adults think that Obama’s push to create jobs will do more good than harm, while 40 percent say the opposite. The president has spent the fall prodding Congress to pass his $447 billion job-creation package, and he signed legislation Monday to give tax credits to businesses that hire unemployed veterans.

The Nov. 8-10 survey of 1,026 adults, including 872 registered voters, found a populace that is still glum about the nation’s economic outlook: Nearly three out of four think the country is in a recession — although the official scorekeeper of these things, the National Bureau of Economic Research, says the recession ended in 2009 — and 53 percent think that “the worst is yet to come,” while 41 percent think the worst is behind us.

The number who think the country is in a recession had declined slightly since July, and those who think that the worst is “yet to come” declined significantly since August, when 68 percent of Americans said that was what they thought.

Wandering 4-year-old Washington boy back with mom

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A 4-year-old boy dressed in Spider Man pajamas had his own late-night Spidey adventure in Vancouver, Wash.

He was spotted on the street at 3 a.m. Sunday with a blanket and flashlight.

Officers were unable to find the boy’s home, so they took him to a precinct station. They gave him hot chocolate and oranges and let him watch cartoons until his mother called at about 7 a.m. to report him missing.

The boy had been staying with his grandmother and awoke after a nightmare and went looking for his mother.

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